Business/Finance

Found: the worst fucking online payment system in the world. Yay for me.

I owe my medical provider money. I think. I had some tests run and my insurance doesn’t cover it all, so I owe a few extra bucks. I’m trying, as hard as I can, to pay the bill. And for all I know, I may have already. But I can’t prove it.

My first instinct was to pay online. Boy howdy, talk about fucked. If Douglas Adams were still alive this is the interface he’d be writing trilogies about. It’s ugly, it’s clunky, and “counter-intuitive” barely begins to describe the workflow. For instance, the bills you owe are hidden under the “Paid Claims” tab. The ones you still owe are labeled “Completed,” which is also how the ones you’ve paid are labeled.

It gets better. One of the required fields is the “Premium Due Date.” Fine. Except that nowhere – nowhere – is there any such date on the invoice. Not on the online page and not on the paper invoice, either. Finally I give up and enter this other date – it may be the one they want, but it’s labeled entirely differently. I finish the process and wait for something that either verifies receipt of payment or informs me that I’m doing it wrong. Still waiting. No notification on the Web page, no e-mail notification, nothing.

Okay, so I worry. I want to make sure my bills are paid so they don’t send me to collections and destroy my credit score, right? I drag out the paper invoice looking for the customer service number. I have to because the only number on the Web site is customer service for the affiliated prescription drug program, which has fuck-all to do with my actual health insurance and my current challenge. At least when you do reach somebody at that number, they know what you’re up against and helpfully provide the right number, right? No, they treat you like you were trying to reach a whorehouse and got them by accident.

Toward the top of the page it lists a number to call if I have questions. Further down it lists another number if I have billing questions. Then, below the perforation on the payment slip it lists two separate numbers I can call if I want to pay by credit card. There’s also a number under the “makes checks payable too” address. And sogoddamnedhelpme, NONE OF THEM ARE ANSWERING!! Straight. To. Badgerfucking. Voicemail. ALL FIVE OF THEM.

So I pick one at random, breathe deeply and leave a message. I’m guessing the callback will come roughly the same time as my e-mail notification shows up.

But then I notice something I hadn’t seen before. There’s apparently a second Web site. The hell? Never heard of this one. But it indicates that I have an account, so I go to it, enter the login info, and check it out – there’s another, apparently completely unrelated way I can pay my bill. Does the money go to the same people? Who knows.

All my problems are solved now, right? Not exactly. See, top right there’s a summary: name, account number, statement date (but a different date than all the dates at that other site) and – YES – a balance due! And it’s zero! I’m all paid up!

So I scroll down just a little to see what’s going to jump out of the closet next because, well, you’ve been reading, right? And there it is:

YOUR ACCOUNT IS PAST DUE!! TO AVOID FURTHER COLLECTION ACTIVITY, PLEASE MAIL PAYMENT IN FULL TODAY! TO MAKE CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS PLEASE CALL XXX-XXX-XXXX

My balance of zero is past due, and if I don’t pony up they’re sending my ass to collections. Then I’ll wind up dealing with the goofuses in those free credit score commercials.

I swear on Mark Twain’s grave, every damned word of this is true.

There ought to be a law that says when you outsource your fuckhat online payment system development to the Little Rock Zoo that I don’t owe you a penny, you illiterate peckerflaps. But there isn’t (unless we’re in certain parts of the South, where the “he needed killin'” principle might well apply).

So I’ll keep trying to get one of you nice folks on the phone. On the off chance that I do, I’ll try to be as helpful and friendly as your online system is…

2 replies »

  1. Imagine the horrors faced by someone dealing with a complicated, long-term disease. As if they didn’t already have enough of a burden to carry.

Leave us a reply. All replies are moderated according to our Comment Policy (see "About S&R")

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s